Telgemeier, Raina. Sisters.

NY: Scholastic Books, 2014.

I’ve really gotten into graphic novels the past decade or so, but I hardly ever do superheroes. I wasn’t really into Marvel comics even in the ’70s. I prefer “real” stories. This author does autobiography and the award-winning Smile was a terrific book, so I grabbed this one as soon as I saw it.

At thirteen, Raina (the character in the story, that is) is about to start high school and she has a sister five years younger and a brother eight years younger. Little Will is an easygoing kind of kid but her sister, Amara, is very hard work indeed. And to think, when she was little, all Raina wanted was a sister to play with! The two girls fight constantly (though the demanding and impossible-to-please Amara usually starts it) and they drive their mother crazy. The story involves Mom and the three kids driving from their San Francisco home to Colorado springs in an elderly VW bus for a long-delayed family reunion. (Dad, who has just been laid off and is job-hunting, will fly in later and join them.) As you might imagine, almost anything than can go wrong, does. And between that and Amara’s glaring sarcasm and complaints — and, of course, the pet snake that’s lost somewhere in the car — Raina may or may not survive the trip.

The writing is first-rate and real-world and her art, while basically line drawings, suits the story nicely. Telgemeier is now on my “automatic” list.


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